If you really want to change the world

This one’s on my wishlist. Did anyone read the book already?

Silicon Valley’s latest trend for creating new ventures is based on trial and error: test market needs with new product concepts and a minimum amount of capital, expect that the product may not meet the market need, so fail fast and try another product with the hope that a product-market fit will eventually emerge.

But this fail fast, step-and-pivot philosophy is like taking a random walk in the forest without a compass. “If You Really Want to Change the World” is about helping entrepreneurs find true north.

Henry Kressel and Norman Winarsky–technologists, inventors, and investors with stellar track records–provide a guide for those who wish to create a market-leading company that will have a real impact: a disciplined and staged approach they have used to launch, invest in, and develop scores of highly successful companies. “If You Really Want to Change the World” leads entrepreneurs through the critical stages of venture development, from concept to acquisition or public offering to maintaining a rich culture of innovation in the company. It is a guide by innovators for innovators, with approaches that are practical and timeless. Drawing on the authors’ experiences as well as those of their partners from around the world, Kressel and Winarsky share the stories of their triumphs and misses, demonstrate their method in action, and inspire their readers in the process. There are more opportunities now than ever before to build breakthrough companies that touch millions of lives. If this is your goal, let this book be your guide to creating world-changing ventures.

Hire and fire…by values

“Values are fluffy, weak, tacky. Success is all about mission, strategy and execution.” At Herculean, we don’t agree with that statement at all. In fact, looking at the past years, we only hired and fired by values, never by skills.

Values define how you expect to regard your customers, community and suppliers, how you want to behave toward each other; and what will have priority, as well as the lines you will and will not cross.

If values of the organisation match the values of the individuals, chances for a successful collaboration increase. We have experienced that if just one of those values doesn’t match, chances for failure increase even more.

Within the Hercules Academy, we even experience that when values do not match well, chances for individual burnout increase. In our burn-out recovery and prevention programs, we often come across these issues. We also help organisations embed their values within the organisation.

Values reflect our assumptions and beliefs. Values serve as a decision-making guide and a source of energy for the organization. Values shape the behavior of the people in an organization. They determine how people treat each other, how they approach their work and how they interact with others.

Recruiting people who already have values that are in alignment with the organization’s core values is important to actualize the mission and vision. You can easily train a person on how to do a job, but it becomes much harder to train a person to have the same values as your organization so pick wisely.

Likewise, when it comes to firing someone usually it is a value-related decision.  “They’re just not the right fit,” you hear often.  What they mean is that the organization has a set of values and beliefs and the person being let go doesn’t align with those values. It doesn’t mean the person of the organisation are “bad” or that the values are “bad”, it just means that the magic wasn’t there given the circumstances and that the relationship isn’t meant to be.

When people look at Herculean they easily associate us with “wow”, “fun”, “great”, “yeah”, “cool”, “wanna be part of this” but 99% of the people forget the hard work, the struggle, the suffering… behind the scenes. It’s not because we run a very cool company, that we don’t face the same challenges as any other company. We try to repeat our mantra, values and believes as much as we can:

  • Our Mantra: Dream – Team – Focus – Network
  • Our believes: WOW – Open Communication – Cheer
  • Our values: find them here

As you can see they are totally different from our mission and our strategy.

So we believe that values are not some mushy, feel-good literature we put around our organizations.  They are the determining factor of who gets on our bus, who needs to get off our bus and where we plan to head once the bus is going full steam ahead.

Need some help on those values? Contact the Hercules Academy.

Can You Face the 6 Hard Truths of Entrepreneurship?

“It’s a common occurrence in the startup world: A critical decision has to be made, one that will affect everything that comes after it, and may determine the fate of the company. It could be a decision whether to let a partner go or invest in a new technology. But the founder won’t consider all the options, even refusing to make what to virtually everyone else seems like the right decision. The startup flounders for a while longer. Then it fails.”
Great article by Eran Dror. He gives the six most crucial hard truths when advising entrepreneurs.

The Psychological Price of Entrepreneurship

Good article by John Rampton

“Every entrepreneur will experience the real price of entrepreneurship at some point in his startup career. If you haven’t yet, you will. It’s hard. It’s something I’ve had to deal with several times since quitting my job years back. The real psychological price of entrepreneurship can be too much for some to take.”

Read all about it on http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/244159

7 Unexpected Signs You Might Be an Entrepreneur

LinkedIn Influencer, Ryan Holmes, published this post originally on LinkedIn

Yes, you’ve got to be passionate, resilient and all that other good stuff. But there are more subtle qualities needed, as well. Networking with other entrepreneurs over the years through Hootsuite and working closely with young up-and-comers, he noticed that a lot of us share some common personality traits. So, without further ado, you might be an entrepreneur if…

1. You’re restless, and no achievement ever seems good enough. (CHECK)

2. You’re a control freak. (CHECK)

3. You’re a masochist.  (CHECK)

4. You have a love-hate relationship with money. (CHECK)

5. You’re a black sheep, and maybe even a dropout. (I WAS IN MATH 🙂 )

6. People think you’re crazy. (CHECK)

7. You’re somewhat introverted. (Mmmm not sure)

Read the whole article on Entrepreneur.com

7 Unexpected Signs You Might Be an Entrepreneur

Entrepreneur mindset

I recently bumped into a very interesting blog on “10 ways entrepreneurs think differently”. I could relate very much to every single point! Jason Demers nailed it with this one! He is founder and CEO of AudienceBloom, a Seattle-based SEO agency. He also started Crackerize.com, a lyrics-humor website. He’s the author of the ebook, “The Definitive Guide to Marketing Your Business Online.”

Entrepreneurs are a unique breed of people. While some people sit and fantasize about the glamor of being their own boss and creating their own business, those in the thick of business ownership understand that even considering all its rewards, entrepreneurship is a difficult and complicated path.

The world’s most successful entrepreneurs aren’t the ones who impulsively quit their jobs to chase a get-rich-quick idea. They are the ones with an entrepreneurial mindset — a set of perspectives and values that allow them to achieve greatness.

These 10 perspectives are differentiators you’ll need to have or develop if you’re going to be a successful business owner.

Inspirational mission to Dubai

Hey Belgian CxO’s, need to be inspired in only 4 days?

Together with ex-top tennis player Sabine Appelmans and her coach Serge Haubourdin, we will organise an exclusive inspiration tour of 4 days to Dubai from 19 until 23 March.

Enjoy the desert, be inspired by the vision of Dubai, meet successful entrepreneurs, meditate with our coaches and experience Hercules Trophy in the desert. A truly unique experience you can’t afford to miss!

Places are limited. Download the brochure here.

Dealing with failure

Many people struggle with it. Especially entrepreneurs in Europe, where it’s “not done” to fail and where the underdog always gets the sympathy. Or perfectionists. The problem with fear to fail or insecurity is that it can kill you. If you are afraid of failure, you don’t take risks and nothing will happen. Here’s a great article from James Caan about his lessons learned.

How I look at failure? First of all, I know I fail constantly. When failure is happening: attack the problem, don’t run away because it will get worse the longer you wait. Look it in the eyes. Pretty scary I know, but next time it happens you won’t be. Try to fix it on the spot as much as you can to really understand the source of the problem and not the result. Once you did the quick fix: Don’t change the dream, change the plan! And most importantly: I DON’T CARE WHAT OTHER PEOPLE THINK!

Here’s a good one I borrowed from Dave Crane:

Photo: Like (& Share) of the Day...

Belgium is surreal

I hear so many Belgian start-up entrepreneurs or companies that want to expand globally complain about the non-existence of Belgian Venture Capital and the lack of support from Belgian banks. I don’t complain, I confirm.

There has never been so much capital on Belgian bank accounts, but so called VC’s only invest in proven business (and then they need a majority of the shares for 100K, and most of them can’t even follow through)  and Belgian banks require a balance sheet of the past 3 years to get 100K… (which you don’t have and if you have it, it shows that you are investing and they bloody hate that). Oh and by the way, if you are going to use that money for international expansion you’ll scare the hell out of them. Oh and don’t ask them their balance sheet of the past years by the way….

Most Belgians even think you can become a global brand on the cashflow of your existing business. Get real! Ripping of your existing customers to finance your investments??? I don’t think so!

It’s surreal – I know – but that’s why Magritte was so successful. It is what it is. Don’t complain and don’t try to change that culture. It’s naive, it will drain you and take your focus away.

Go find capital in other parts of the world. They will understand you. Start from your strengths, to name a few:

  • Belgium has the best Universities in the world, even though others have better marketing.
  • Belgians can easily work with all nationalities. We can easily lead a very diverse team without posing a threat to all the big ego’s from the big countries. We have one of the smallest and most complex countries in the world, so I guess we can manage everything.
  • Belgians are humble and hard workers. They get things done, while others talk about it.
  • Belgians are the perfect mix of North and South. Structure from the North and good life from the South.
  • A lot of great things started in Belgium and were bought by big countries. Is that a problem for you as an entrepreneur? Why should it be? Let your baby grow! You want to be a global brand anyway, so why would you care? You won’t get any appreciation for what you did in Belgium anyway. Is that a problem for the Belgian government? It probably is, but they don’t care and you shouldn’t. They have other things to do like making sure you pay all your taxes.

So to all Belgian entrepreneurs (and no, that’s not the managers who work in big companies and claim to be entrepreneurs because it’s the new sexy): buy a ticket to UK, US or AE and convince venture capital there. It’s the only way!

Good luck! You’ve got my support and let me know how it went.

Dream like a child

3 years ago, my brilliant wife-buddy-lover and myself decided to give our silly dream 3 years to grow. We found a few people who believed us, where 99,9999% told us we were fools.

2 months ago we bought a simple bottle of Cava and did the math.

Was it a tough? You have no idea! Was it rewarding? Without any doubt!  Did we sleep? Not really, but who needs sleep anyway? Did we have fun? Oh yes! Would we do it again? Without hesitation! Will we face new challenges? Of course not Glimlach

We have no ambition to stop now. On the contrary! We are even more convinced and ready for an amazing journey. We have a fabulous dream, a breakthrough team, a focussed plan, amazing partners and fans all over the world……..and the most inspiring kids on the planet who help us put things in perspective.

Dream like a child

and Belgium has a government after 540 days…so…